All courses were well attended by nice and serious devotees from all around the world - some being part of the Mayapur community, and some simply visiting Mayapur for a shorter period of time. Several disciples of Srila Prabhupada also participated. When senior devotees are present and contribute with comments and questions, it uplifts the entire atmosphere.
In regards to family life, the day of the materialist relates to grhamedhi life, and the day of the spiritualist corresponds to the grhastha ashram. Inbetween the two is a broad spectrum of shades and grades. Our high divorce rate of 60% makes it very clear that we still have a rather long way to go to actually establish the grhastha ashram. There is no room for divorce in the grhastha ashram. It is part of grhamedhi life. This fact clearly dawned upon me while giving the courses this year. The fact that many ladies stop chanting 16 rounds once they have a child is also not really part of the grhastha ashram. Obviously we are not quite there yet. We are still tending more towards material patterns of behaviors and tastes found in mundane family life.
And it is very natural: it will take time to establish family life as an ashram - a place for cultivation of pure devotional service. It requires systematic training and education. More and more devotees are coming from broken and dysfunctional families and have never even experienced harmonious and healthy family life. We have to train our devotees with the most basic aspects of human behaviour and interpersonal relationships. What used to be common sense fifty years ago and clearly established values and etiquettes within society is now lost and forgotten. Kali Yuga is so rapidly advancing!
In the evening little Radha Madhava receive an abhishek from flower petals - a "flower shower", accompanied by beautiful chanting in kirtan. The temple room was packed with pilgrims, and it was almost impossible to squeeze in. Then the Mayapur managers came up with a brilliant solution: they announced in Bengali that prasadam was served outside, and everyone got up and left - to make room for the practicing devotees.....!
1st of February marked Vasanta Pancami - the first day of spring, when Radha Madhava were dressed in yellow, with a most wonderful altar decoration: an ocean of yellow flowers creating an amazing pastime place for the Divine couple. All the gopis were emanating a beautiful yellow hue, their bodies being rubbed with tumeric powder.....
Your servant, Devaki dd